Creole comes from the sugar cane plantations of the Caribbean via the African slaves, whose language and culture was blended with that of the French, Portuguese, and Indian peoples who had settled there to create a new and distinct culture. Basically Creole is a whole lot of everything mixed with everything else. That being said, home is where the heart is, caring and preparing with an all round, good, spiritual feeling, so once upon a stove…
Welcome to Bali’s Kreol Kitchen.
S.B We’re on, so what’s cookin?
A.L. My name is Annick Le Brasse, originally from the island of Marihus, Madagascar, immigrated when I was five to Melbourne, Australia, and then travelled to Bali, where I have been for now ten-and-a-half years. Married with a daughter of thirteen. In Australia I was in the clothing industry for twenty seven years.
S.B. Now restaurateur. What brought that about?
A.L. Well that clothing business was a very ego-tripping industry and I just naturally departed.
S.B. So now we’re in the Kreol Kitchen, which is quite unique here. Tell me about it.
A.L. Okay, I’ve always been blessed with the ability to be experimental in the kitchen, being able to taste something and combine and create something great. I’ve always loved having dinner parties and always going all out. It was all about experience basically and people would always remember my dinners, parties from five, six years ago. I naturally decided that’s what I wanted to do.
S.B. I presume your parties catered to
different styles of food and people?
A.L. Sometimes there would be ‘chase the murder’ dinner parties, where people had to get dressed up in character and have to perform while having an amazing dinner.
S.B. That was in Australia?
A.L. Yes, but I’ve done one here as well, which was amazing.
S.B. I could jump in on that, sounds like fun.
A.L Thanks, the one I did here was based on the Ming Dynasty with eight characters. The invites told you who you were, background and where you’re from. This was a full-on Chinese banquet. I made everything from scratch and we played out the whole thing.
S.B. Would this come into play, lets say, with a Roman theme?
A.L. Anything. There’s always a murder that happens during dinner. You have clues and you’re always pushing each other.
S.B. Is this happening at the Kreol?
A.L At home, but I would like to perhaps later introduce a special evening like that.
S.B. So we’re talking theatre dining.
A.L. Yes, in the Ming Dynasty, when people came in, they have to have a Chinese accent.
S.B. What’s the concept of Kreol?
A.L. I’m Creole, and what I wanted to do was bring it back to basics, meaning everything cooked home style; simple and basic and not using a lot of commercial products. For example, we make our own tomato ketchup, we make our own cordial, drinks and wraps, it’s a conscious business plan, everything that I’ve put into this space, physically, mentally. I chose not to sell water; I believe water should be free for everyone. The actual water that we supply free, I put crystals in, which I believe is energizing. The wraps are made by hand; we don’t use margarine, only butter.
S.B. Very heath conscience?
A.L. Yes, but its also comfort food as well. Another example, the sweets that we make here are taken from the Country Women’s Association in Australia, the C.W.A., and Australians are very familiar with that, their cook books and shows. So we do a lot of old recipes that customers recognize that their grandmothers and mothers used to make. I never realized how popular it would be, it brings back lots of memories for people.
S.B. Australian memories?
A.L. Creole, but I’m Australian as well.
S.B. Sounds like you’ve done some travelling with your food tasting?
A.L (Laughter) Mostly from eating, I can open a fridge and always come up with something unique by trying and putting something together.
S.B. Years ago, foreign chefs were not allowed to work here, so they trained Indonesian chefs, but it never worked, due to the fact they never ate the food and didn’t know how it was supposed to taste.
A.L. I have my staff taste. The younger ones are a bit harder, breaking them out of the box, but I taste everything. I have more than one cook, three or four to be exact, so they know the difference. We also make the products here; take away, wholesale, catering, private parties.
S.B. Self educated, no Cordon Bleu (Laughter), and to your credit your making a big splash here, the word is out.
A.L. Kreol has been in existence for two and half years, we’re just going with the flow. I put in a lot of energy, because I want to be around for a while. It’s amazing the wave here. I don’t allow fashion magazines here, what I do is supply and have set up a spiritual library for the expatriates that live here on a borrowing system, also angel cards.
S.B. You’re dealing with a spiritual establishment as well?
A.L Yes, crystals in the water, blessings of the food everyday by priests. I clear the space every day and give thanks to all my family pictures on the wall. I believe if you bless the food, it just gives that extra positive energy. I’m a healer as well.
S.B. Healer, in what respect?
A.L. Hands on healing. People come to me when, lets say when their stuck. I do coagnostic, readings, one on one consultations, I’m here every day.
S.B. Seven days a week?
A.L. Six days a week, but we’re looking to open Sundays as well 8am -10 pm.
S.B. Do you have future plans?
A.L. I’m thinking of perhaps opening somewhere else, but it’s more of a passion, so I’m not sure.
S.B. I’m seeing it as holistic, not money orientated.
A.L. Yes, I want people to be comfortable, especially if their going to be hanging out here. It’s an extension of my kitchen, a welcoming experience, and they walk away with something special. We have a women’s spiritual group as well and we meet twice a month. To me the café has been a stepping stone to all these other spiritual endeavours that I’m participating in. In that I’ve met some amazing people from all over the world. It’s a blessing to be here, it’s amazing and constantly changing.
S.B. That’s the ticket, Kreol.
Chow mien, Salvador Bali